Man does time fly! It’s an often overused cliche but with 2 races already under the belt the season is moving along in a hurry. There’s been some good things, some bad, and some downright ugly! Here’s a quick update:
After a month at altitude I, along with what seemed to be half the population of Flagstaff, headed to Payton Jordan for my season opener. We travelled most of Thursday which gave us two nights at sea level to recover and prep for the race. I was tired coming down from a hard 4 weeks at altitude but hoped that those couple of days at sea level would do the trick and that I’d feel good and rested come race time. When the gun went off I didn’t feel bad, but just flat. The race went out at a comfortable pace and my legs felt good. I made a few tactical errors which left me sitting at the back of a pack of 10+ guys just doing everything I could to spot the barriers and stay on my feet. With about 1km to go I missed the break and ended up running 8:35. Not a terrible time but not what I had come to do and nowhere near what I knew I was capable of. I kicked the dirt for a few hours, upset that I squandered a great opportunity to hit a fast time. After I finally decided to wrap up the pity party I changed my focus and got excited about the 10 days ahead leading into my next race at Oxy (AKA the Hoka One One Middle Distance Classic). After a couple of more days at sea-level it appeared that Altitude had done its trick. I felt great and I had a couple of the best workouts of my life! As a result, I was feeling much more confident and I couldn’t wait to toe the line at Oxy.
Oxy was a much different race this year. There were less Americans running the steeple (there were plenty of Canadians!) and so we had to rely on a pacer to get the race going. Credit to this guy as he pulled us through the mile in 4:30 and set up a great last few laps with Matt Hughes and Taylor Milne trading the lead back and forth and me just hanging on for the ride. I let a little gap open up over the final 800m but I closed well (64.5 last lap) and just dipped under 8:30 for a final time of 8:29.86. While it was frustrating to miss the World Championship and Olympic Standard by just over 1 second, this is the fastest time I’ve ever run this early in the season and I feel like I’ve built some great momentum for the rest of the season.
Whereas last year’s race in LA we were holed up in air-conditioned hotel rooms, trying to avoid the 100+ heat, this year I was complaining I didn’t bring an extra sweater. With cool temps and stormy skies the steeplechases, 800s and women’s 1500 lucked out and got pretty ideal conditions for racing. However, immediately after the first heat of the men’s 1500 crossed the finish line, the skies opened up unleashing 4 years worth of pent up moisture onto drought-stricken California. There was thunder and lightning. We all hustled for shelter and the meet was delayed. After a few minutes of torrential downpour lakes were beginning to form and it was getting tough to stay dry, even under the relative protection of the tents. We moved indoors hoping that the storm would soon pass and the rest of the meet would go on. However, with every lightning strike the meet would get delayed another 45 minutes. Finally at 9:30pm the meet organisers cancelled the remainder of the meet. I don’t think many expected that – and rightfully so it was tough news to take for those who hadn’t raced yet. Most had travelled a good distance and spent money out of pocket to get to LA and didn’t get to see Disneyland, let alone race.
Next up is the Speed River Inferno on May 31st which is shaping up to be a great race!